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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bernhart Unemployment Survey Released: Direct Marketers Facing Longer Unemployment

Owatonna, MN, August 24, 2010---The job outlook for unemployed direct marketers has sharply deteriorated since last summer, according to a new study by Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, a leading digital and direct marketing executive search firm.

"In Summer 2009, we asked unemployed direct marketers how long they had been looking for a job," said Jerry Bernhart, principal of Bernhart Associates. "We decided to ask that same question one year later. Like last year we broke down the results by levels of compensation, and for the first time we've segmented results by age."

The survey focused on respondents who said they are currently unemployed and are actively searching for a full-time direct marketing position. The survey's results, therefore, exclude those who are looking only for part-time work, currently employed, or unemployed but only passively looking.

Here are the 2010 survey's key findings:

  • Nearly one-third of respondents said they have been looking for a direct marketing-related position for more than 18 months.
  • The median length of unemployment among direct marketers is 12.0 months, nearly twice the 6.5-month figure of one year ago.
  • Older, higher-paid workers face much longer search times than their younger, lower-paid colleagues.
  • The survey reveals that generally the best odds of finding a direct marketing job are either in the first three months, or between 7 and 9 months.

According to Bernhart Associates' 2010 survey, 21% of unemployed respondents said they have been actively looking for a full-time direct marketing job between 1 and 3 months. Twelve percent (12%) said their search has lasted from 4 to 6 months, 9% said they have been looking for between 7 and 9 months, and 10% percent said they have been on the job hunt 10-12 months. The remainder, 48%, has been looking for more than a year.

When the results were broken down by salary, Bernhart said the survey reveals that lower-paid direct marketing job seekers are experiencing only slightly more success finding jobs more quickly than those in the higher-salary brackets.

However, when broken down by age, Bernhart said the differences are more dramatic. "In the 30 to 39 age bracket, all respondents said they had been searching for a new job for less than one year," he said. "But those between 50 and 59, half have been looking for more than a year. And if you are older than 60, you can pretty much expect to be looking for at least 18 months."

Bernhart pointed out that survey results are consistent with the challenges facing the overall U.S. labor market. "In July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nationwide median length of unemployment was 22.2 weeks, or approximately 5 months. While that is significantly less than the median for direct marketers, many direct marketing-related job categories require more specialized knowledge, more training, and higher levels of educational attainment than other jobs that fall into the unskilled labor category."

A total of 448 individuals responded to the random survey, which was emailed the week of August 16 to more than 9,000 direct marketers across the country.

Rather than wait another year, Bernhart said he will repeat the Unemployment Search Survey in about six months in order to track changes.

Bernhart announced that his quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Hiring Survey for the fourth quarter will be emailed out in the end of September. The third quarter report showed declines in all key employment indicators, reversing an upward trend during the first half of 2010.

Employers who would like to participate in the next Employment Survey should send an email with the subject "Opt-In" to, or they can sign up on the Bernhart Associates website.

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